CLOSE

The DeKalb County bookkeeper who stopped the school shooter at Ronald E. McNair Discovery Learning Academy yesterday (August 20) is being hailed as a hero.

In an interview on ABC’s “World News with Diane Sawyer,” Antoinette Tuff said she was able to convince the suspect, Michael Brandon Hill, to put down his weapons and ammunition. Hill was armed with an AK-47 assault rifle and had exchanged several shots with police before surrendering. No one was injured during the incident.

RELATED: Shots Fired at DeKalb County Elementary School, No Injuries Reported

Hill is charged with aggravated assault on a police officer, terroristic threats and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

“He told me he was sorry for what he was doing. He was willing to die,” Tuff told ABC. Tuff said the suspect told her he hadn’t taken his medication. She told Hill her own life story, about how her marriage fell apart after 33 years and the “roller coaster” of opening her own business.

“I told him, `OK, we all have situations in our lives,” she said. “It was going to be OK. If I could recover, he could, too.”

Tuff told WSB-TV that she tried to keep Hill talking to prevent him from walking into the hallway or through the school building.

“He had a look on him that he was willing to kill – matter of fact he said it. He said that he didn’t have any reason to live and that he knew he was going to die today,” Tuff said, adding that Hill told her he was sure he’d be killed because he’d shot at police officers. “I knew that if he got out that door he was gonna kill everybody,” she said.

In the meantime McNair Academy students are taking classes at McNair High School, where the school’s marquee said “Welcome McNair Elementary School Our Prayers Are With You.”

Watch Antoinette Tuff discuss school shooting: